ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - If your child has a nickname they go by in school, some Florida school districts are requiring parents sign a permission slip for the upcoming school year.
Students who wish to be called anything other than their legal name in school will need their parents to sign off, according to memos sent to parents by Orange County Public Schools and Seminole County Public Schools.
Spokespersons for Marion County Schools and Volusia County Schools confirmed to FOX 35 that they have plans to issue similar memos, but have not sent them out yet. FOX 35 has reached out to the other districts in Central Florida and will update our story when we receive a response.
This new rule comes amid legislation adopted in July that requires school boards to implement a policy for educational records. School districts will in turn develop a form for parents to provide any required documents.
That form, which is available below, must be used for all deviations of a child's legal name.
Here's what the form says:
"Under School Board Policy JRA, ‘A parent/legal guardian or any person who seeks to enroll a student under a name other than the student’s legal name or seeks to change the name of a student already enrolled shall be informed that the name of the student as recorded on the birth certificate or other supporting evidence as prescribed in Section 1003.21, Florida Statutes, shall be used until or unless a final court order verifies a legal name change.’"
For example, if your child's name is Robert but likes to be called "Rob," the form will need to be filled out to make that happen.
This form also applies to transgender students who wish to be called something other than their legal name, according to the school district. This, however, does not allow teachers and staff to use a student's preferred pronouns, and does not allow a teacher or staff member to ask a student's preferred pronoun, which was barred under House Bill 1069.
Orange County Public Schools released a memo for district teachers and employees providing guidance on the changes as a result of the recent legislation. You can read that below.
"Questions have arisen about whether a parent can approach an employee and ask the employee to utilize a pronoun which does not correspond with the student’s biological sex at birth. The State Board of Education has not given guidance on this precise question. An educator cannot solicit a child’s pronouns, as this is directly prohibited by law – a parent would have to approach the educator about utilization of a pronoun differing from the child’s biological sex at birth."
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Instead, OCPS recommends teachers refer to students by their first name as listed on the roster, by their last name, or a nickname (as long as the permission form is signed).
Teachers who violate the new rules could face sanctions on their certificate – and at the most severe, could have their teaching certificate revoked, the district's memo said.
Orange County Public Schools, Marion County Public Schools, Seminole County Public Schools start school August 10. Volusia County Schools start August 14.